TTIP @ RIC2014

A government ban on fracking in Quebec has been challenged through use of similar powers by the company. Despite being a Canadian company, it was able to use its US arm to challenge the ruling under NAFTA. (Scottish Government control over fracking as outlined in Smith could similarly be challenged)

 

TTIP: Towards an International Strategy to stop it.

 
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) along with other trade deals (eg TTP, CETA, TISA) is an attempt to rewrite the rules of the global economy, transferring even more power from people to capital under the guise of ‘free’ trade.

 
Nick Dearden of the World Development Movement described how the pro-corporate treaty between the US and the EU would ‘lock-in’ privatisation, harmonise (lower) standards and allow big business to sue governments for policies that could harm their profits. He stated that the adoption of the treaty, would represent a 7% shift in economic share from labour to capital.

 
TTIP would also affect local authorities already limited ability to prioritise local procurement further diminishing the role of local councils.

 
The Investor to State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) component of the treaty is the prime focus of concern in Germany according to Cornelia Reetz, campaign manager of the European Citizens Initiative Stop TTIP & CETA. Despite the self-organised Citizens Initiative being refused registration as an official petition, 930,000 signatures have already been collected. The target is a million, which is the amount official petitions must raise to oblige the European Commission to respond.

 
Stopping TTIP has become a major issue for the Unite the Youth group from London, whose representatives Cosima and Isla described their involvement in recent protests outside Westminster.

 
Beyond the detail of the treaty itself, the degree of secrecy in the negotiations is also a concern and was the focus of many points made from the floor. The negotiations are held in secret and even MEP’s are allowed only limited information at any stage prior to the final version being presented to the parliament for ratification.

 
The CETA treaty involves the EU and Canada and is further advanced than TTIP with ratification possible in Autumn 2015. TTIP is likely to be delayed until 2016 before it is presented to the European parliament.

 
The UK government is one of the main cheerleaders for TTIP in the EU and WDM are planning to highlight the TTIP issue in the run-up to the 2015 general Election. STOP TTIP are continuing their petition and seeking to overturn the decision to prevent its official registration.

 
The Scottish parliament has no powers over the matter but could pass a motion opposing the treaty. Local authorities could do likewise, and some in England have already done so. This is an obvious campaigning target for RIC.

 
A government ban on fracking in Quebec has been challenged through use of similar powers by the company. Despite being a Canadian company, it was able to use its US arm to challenge the ruling under NAFTA. (Scottish Government control over fracking as outlined in Smith could similarly be challenged)

 
The potential to link the campaign against TTIP with the anti-fracking campaign could be a successful strategy in Scotland, raising awareness of the wider dangers of neo-liberal globalisation through the very real and direct threat of fracking. Again, I would suggest this is an obvious campaign for RIC.

 
More controversially in terms of the political implications, it could allow us to point to the democratic deficit that exists at the EU level every bit as much as it does at Westminster.

 

Duncan McCabe, workshop facilitator.
More info on TTIP at noTTIP.org.uk
#noTTIP

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